As COVID-19, the novel coronavirus, continues to spread across the US, many organizations are asking their workers to do their jobs from home. If this your first experience working remotely for an extended period of time, you might find yourself facing some unique challenges. Working from home can present a myriad of distractions that hinder productivity. Additionally, after a few days of working remotely, you may find yourself missing the structure, and daily interaction with your coworkers that working in the office provides. If you are new to telecommuting, here are five tips that can help you stay engaged and productive while working from home amid the coronavirus outbreak.
1. Assemble Essential Resources: Teleworking for an extended period may require more than just your laptop. In addition to all the power cords and adapters needed to keep your devices working, you may want to consider bringing home your mouse, keyboard, monitor, and headset. Assemble the applications, data, and other work resources you will need to maintain your productivity. You should also check with your IT team about any differences using applications when you are not connected to the corporate network. Be sure you are equipped with the proper permissions and software to access your organization’s virtual private network (VPN).
2. Allocate a Dedicated Workspace: Designating a specific room or surface in your home specifically to work will help you make a clear separation between work and personal life. Your work from home office doesn’t need to be a big space or an entire room, but it should be as distraction-free as possible. If you don’t have a separate room, establish boundaries that let others know not to interrupt you while you are working.
3. Get Comfortable: An ergonomic workspace, which includes a supportive office chair set to the right height, is a must for workers who sit for an extended period of time every day. Workstation furniture and tools that optimize comfort while maintaining your health will put you in the right frame of mind to be the most productive.
4. Maintain Regular Hours: Sticking to your routine working schedule will help you maintain a work-life balance. You may be tempted to sleep in and work at odd hours; however, your mental health and productivity will benefit from sticking to your work schedule as if you were going into the office. Schedule regular breaks and give yourself adequate time away from your screen for lunch. At the end of your workday, put your laptop away and sign off for the day. Keeping reminders of work out of sight and out of mind will allow you to relax and recharge your batteries.
5. Stay Engaged with Your Coworkers: Working from home means you will miss out on the casual conversations that normally take place around the water cooler, making it essential to take extra steps to stay in touch with your coworkers. Be sure to stay connected with coworkers frequently by email, phone, video chat, or webchat. Use video conferencing technology to meet virtually with coworkers to make decisions in real-time and build a personal rapport with your colleagues.
No one seems to know when the coronavirus pandemic will subside. In the meantime, working in a new environment that may not lend itself to productivity can be difficult and stressful. Putting these tips into practice can help relieve that stress and boost your productivity.